XXI Corps (United States)

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XXI Corps
Shoulder sleeve insignia of XXI Corps
Active 1943–45
Country United States United States
Branch  United States Army
Size Corps
Engagements World War II
Frank W. Milburn
U.S. Corps (1939 - Present)
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XX Corps (United States) XXII Corps (United States)

The XXI Corps was a corps of the U.S. Army during World War II. It was constituted on December 2, 1943, and activated on December 6, 1943 at Camp Polk, Louisiana. XXI Corps fought for 116 days in the European Theater of Operations, starting in the Alsace, crossing into southern Germany, and reaching into Austria. The corps was commanded in combat by Major General Frank W. Milburn as a subordinate unit of the Seventh U.S. Army.

Eastern France

The corps commenced combat operations January 17, 1945, during pitched battle by the U.S. Seventh Army to regain ground lost to Germany's Operation Nordwind New Year's offensive into Alsace. From 25 January until 16 February 1945, XXI Corps was attached to the French First Army and took part in bitter winter combat that ultimately collapsed the Colmar Pocket. After a period of rest, the corps returned to the front on 28 February 1945 and pushed to the edge of the Siegfried Line during the first week of March, 1945.

Germany and Austria

On 20 March 1945, after five days of combat, the corps broke through the Siegfried Line and captured Saarbrücken. Crossing the Rhine behind the U.S. XV Corps in Operation Undertone, the XXI Corps captured Würzburg on 5 April 1945, after a three-day battle marked by an assault across the Main River. Facing determined opposition, the corps fought its way into Schweinfurt on 12 April 1945, after five days of battle. Assaulting Fuerth on 18 April 1945, the corps seized Ansbach the following day and began a drive on the Danube River, over which the corps seized an intact bridge at Dillingen on 22 April 1945. On 28 April 1945, Augsburg fell to the XXI Corps, and on 1 May 1945, the corps seized Bad Tölz and captured German Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt. On 3 May 1945, units of the corps that included the 12th Armored Division entered Austria via Kufstein,[1] and advanced along the Inn River as far as Worgl until met the next day by troops of the 409th Infantry Regiment of the 103rd Infantry Division radiating northeast from Innsbruck.[2] Individual elements made it through Innsbruck and as far south as northern Italy.[3] German forces in the area unconditionally surrendered on 6 May 1945.

Other XXI Corps elements, which included the attached 101st Airborne Division, reached Berchtesgaden from the northwest by May 8th.[4]

Campaign credits and inactivation

XXI Corps is credited with service in the Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe campaigns. XXI Corps Headquarters was inactivated in Germany on 30 September 1945. Subsequent to the Second World War, the corps was active from September 1957 until June 1970. The post-Second World War activation and inactivation occurred at Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, Pennsylvania.

See also


  • Williams, Mary H., compiler (1958). "U.S. Army in World War II, Chronology 1941–1945". Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office.
  • Wilson, John B., compiler (1999). "Armies, Corps, Divisions, and Separate Brigades". Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office. ISBN 0-16-049994-1.
  1. Speed is the Password: The Story of the 12th Armored Division [1]
  2. 411th Infantry Regiment After Action Report: [2] "Passing through advance positions of the 409th Infantry, which later pressed eastward to make contact with the XXI Corps at Worgl, elements of the 411th combat team raced more than 40 miles to seize the Brenner Pass at 0150 on May 4 without opposition. Continuing south into Italy contact was made with elements of the Fifth Army's 88th Division about eight miles south of Brenner at 1051."
  3. Wallace, Linnel, Lt. Col., Commanding Officer, Summary History of the 289th Engineer Combat Battalion - WW II, 1990, U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle, PA, pp. 27-28
  4. 549th Engineer Light Ponton Company History[3]